Harry Houdini was an enigma of his time. The escape artist is one of the most well recognised performance artists of all time, and rightly so. The guy used to escape from straightjackets, underwater. That's enough to warrant the acclaim.
The Witch of Lime Street: Séance, Seduction, and Houdini in the Spirit World, written by David Jaher, is based on the rivalry between Houdini and Mina "Margery" Crandon.
When he wasn't busy pick-locking handcuffs or being buried alive, the iconic illusionist made it his personal mission to disprove those who claimed supernatural ability. Margery (aka The Witch of Lime Street) was a well known medium of the time.
"A Spellbinding and Exciting True Story"
The book, which is set in the 1920's, was only published in October 2015, and it's only taken two months for the rights to be snapped up.
STX entertainment fought off tough competition to obtain the rights to the story. President and Chief Content Officer Oren Aviv was excited at the prospect of producing the movie. He said:
“This is a spellbinding and exciting true story that weaves a fantastic mystery and lots of intrigue with history involving some of the most renowned and iconic figures of the era."
The crux of the storyline is Houdini's quest to debunk Margery's claims, along with a panel of investigative experts. Oren added:
"Ultimately, the film leads to an epic showdown and otherworldly confrontation as the world-renowned occult master Harry Houdini takes on the world’s greatest psychic, Margery Crandon.”
A Family Effort
Andrés Muschietti is set to direct. He is best known for directing the feature Mamá, which was based on his short film of the same name. The brief flick caught the attention of Guillermo del Toro, who found some of the scenes the "scariest" he had ever seen. That's quite a compliment from the esteemed horror director.
As with Mamá, Andrés will work with his sister, Barbara Muschietti. David Jahe, the original author, will adapt the novel into a screenplay.
Source: Hollywood Reporter